Perspectives 3 is a great add-on. It can be really rewarding to see your building appear in all it’s 3-dimensional glory.

There are some interesting challenges when mapping in the isometric view offered by Perspectives 3 however, and that is based on the fact that while the drawing might look 3-dimensional, it is actually still a flat surface. What Perspective does is to use angles in such a way as to make things appear 3-dimensional when it is not. As long as we can use the premade tools, we don’t have to worry too much about this, but these tools have their limits. For example, they are great for creating a house with, but there aren’t any easy tool to draw a ruined, crumbling wall. And it is a this point we need to start drawing some elements ourselves, and that can get a bit tricky when working in the isometric perspective.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to draw various elements to make a convincing ruin. It is based on the keep I made in this thread.

This article is also available as a video.

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Welcome to part 4 of the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

The example map for this part may already be familiar to you, since it is Arumnia, which was used in Part 3 to demonstrate Rhumb lines.

This time I will use the same map to show you a fast and easy way to add beaches, and a couple of alternative ways of using a drop shadow effect.  The FCW file for this version of the map will be available at the end of the article. Continue reading »

Welcome to the third part in the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

In this part we well be focussing on adding rhumb lines to beautify a relatively smooth ocean texture.

Arumnia, the example map used in this tutorial, was drawn in the John Roberts overland style, which was recently included with the core CC3 app as part of Update 25.  If your software is up to date you do not need to own any of the annuals or add-ons to make use of the FCW file included in this blog. Continue reading »

Welcome to the second part of the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

The example map for this tutorial is Arokan and Demorak, and was created using the Herwin Wielink overland style.

Creating ocean contours will take you a little longer than applying the edge striping sheet effects described in the first part of this series, but I hope you will agree with me by the time you have completed your first contoured ocean that the process is still very much worth the time spent creating them. Continue reading »

The Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps article series covers a range of techniques that can be used to modify the appearance of the open water in an overland map to make it work in greater harmony with the rest of the map.

The example map, the Allaluna-Meloa Isles, was created using the Mike Schley overland style that comes with CC3.  Links to the different versions of this map have been included in this article for you to examine at your leisure.

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Last month, I talked about how to bring your DD3 map into various Virtual Table Top (VTT) systems. Now, that is all well and good, but simply exporting a flat image from CC3+ to a VTT do have some limitation. For example, if you make a beautiful forest, the player token would be walking atop your trees, and the players wouldn’t see what is below the trees. In the real world, when you take a walk in the forest, you actually see the forest floor, not the treetops. Same happens when your characters encounters this mysterious house in the forest. Your gorgeous maps shows the scene, and as with any outdoor map, seen from above, the map shows the roof of the house. Then your players announce they are going inside. What now?

There are two ways of handling this. The first is just to have separate maps, one for inside the house, and another for outside. Then you can just load the inside map whenever the players enter the house. But what if someone stays outside and someone goes inside? Well, you could have an identical map still showing the outside, but now revealing the insides of the house instead of the roof. But this approach still means you need to move the player/monster tokens from one map to the next.

The other approach is to have items in your battlemaps that can be hidden to show additional features. This is something we are quite used to doing inside CC3+ by hiding and showing sheets, and the subject of an earlier article. This is a very nice approach, but it is also a bit trickier. The problem here is that when we export a map from CC3+, we end up with a flat image file, we lose things like sheets and layer. There are image formats supporting layers, but CC3+ can’t export to these, nor can the VTT software import them, so we need to do it differently.

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Colors are important for any CC3+ map. Now, you can make beautiful Black & White maps too, but it would be a bit boring if that was the only option available.

Colors in CC3+ comes in two main flavors. CC3+ has it’s own color palette from which you can pick colors and use for entities you create in CC3+. And then you have the colors used in raster symbols and fills, which are part of the image these are based upon, and which are not changeable inside CC3+ (with the exception of varicolor symbols, but that is a separate topic).

The CC3+ color palette will be the focus of today’s article.

One of the limiting factors with the palette is that it only supports 256 colors, which means that it might not contain the exact colors we want for our map. Fortunately, it is easy to edit the palette. You can bring up the dialog at any time by clicking the color indicator on the status bar, pick one of the existing colors, and hit the Define Color button. This lets us define it as any color in the standard 24-bit color spectrum (over 16 million different colors available). Just remember that if you edit a color, it will affect existing entities in the map, you cannot get around the 256 color limit by first using a color and then changing it. Now, changing the colors are easy, but let us look a bit more a palette-wide options. Continue reading »

This is the third article in my series about XP development. To understand this article properly, you should be familiar with the contents of the previous articles.

When writing commands for CC3+, we frequently need to communicate with the user. This is often in the form of requesting some data from the user, such as where to place a node or which color to use, or we want to provide information to the user, such as instructions on the command line or the information the user requested. In this article, I’ll talk about the Text Formatting & Output Service (FormSt) used to prepare data to display to the user, and the data request format (ReqData). We have been touching both of these briefly in the two prior articles, but it is time to discuss these a bit more in depth.

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Accompanying CC3+ and it’s addons are a host of different symbols, all arranged neatly into symbol catalogs. These catalogs are arranged by map type, map style, and symbol theme/content. For example, there is one symbol catalog containing structure symbols from the Mike Schley Overland style, while a completely different symbol catalog contains furniture symbols from the standard DD3 dungeon style. Generally, these catalogs are arranged in such a way that clicking the various symbol catalog buttons (the toolbar right above your mapping area) loads different symbol catalogs relevant to the current map type and style. And if you need a symbol catalog from a different style, you can always click the Load Symbol Catalog button and browse for a different symbol catalog manually.

But did you know that CC3+ allows you to easily manage these catalogs and their content? For example, you can create a new catalog containing all your favorite symbols, collecting symbols from different styles and even map types into one catalog. In this article, I’ll guide you trough making such a custom catalog; for this example, I’ll be making a catalog that collects all the statue symbols from the various dungeon styles I have available to me. I often use statues as dungeon/floorplan dressing, and it would be great to have all of these available in one place. This catalog will mix symbols from different styles, so not every symbol in this catalog will work in every map obviously, but you can often mix symbols from different styles with great success.

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This is the second article in my series about XP development. To understand this article properly, you should be familiar with the contents of the previous articles.

In this article, we’ll talk about how we can manipulate our drawing. In CC3+, a drawing is really a series of entities, so we are going to have a closer look at what an entity really is, how to create new entities in the map, and how to access and manipulate existing entities.

Entities

Everything in a CC3+ map is an entity; a symbol, a line, a landmass and so on. This term should be well known to all CC3+ mappers, as it is the term used in official documentation. However, it isn’t just these visible things that are entities, almost everything stored in a CC3+ drawing is an entity, such as a map note or an effect. We can view an entity as a data container for one specific thing or aspect of our map.

When working on an XP, you are almost always going to be handling entities. After all, manipulating entities is needed no matter what you want to do with the drawing, including extracting information from it, so understanding how to work with these is very important.

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